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Party Wall Awards for Flats, Houses and Bungalows

The Party Wall Act is a very useful piece of legislation that enables the owner of a property to make modifications to it that effect the immediate neighbours – for example: a ground floor extension in a terraced house, the removal of a chimney breast in a converted flat or a loft conversion in a semi-detached house, amongst others.
If you are considering extending your property, then you will need to seek the advice of an architect and you must also contact the planning department of your local authority to find out if you need Planning Permission or if the Permitted Development rules apply to your property. There may also be other restrictions for developing your property, such as being in a conservation area.

Once you commit to the extension then you will need to consider any party walls between your property and your next-door neighbours. This could be just one neighbour in the case of a semi-detached house or bungalow. However, where the property is a top floor flat in a terrace you will need to consider both the neighbours and the freeholder.
You will need to serve the relevant Party Wall Notices on the “adjoining owners” who can either can either consent or dissent. If your neighbours consent then you can proceed with the works as set out in the Party Wall Notice without any further steps.

From experience, it is likely that the neighbours will dissent. However, this is does not stop the works from proceeding. Instead, it sets into motion the other requirements of the Party Wall Act to reduce the risk of damage and ensures that the adjoining owner does not suffer unnecessary inconvenience.

A Party Wall Award will be generated which sets out some basic rules for how the work to the Party Wall will be carried out, such as working hours, limiting noise, construction methods, and etcetera.

Where a Party Wall is to be raised, the award will also contain details for the right of access over an adjoining owner’s land. This access is subject to 14 days’ notice in writing. If there is an award, it will set out the conditions relating to access including how the adjoining owner’s property must be protected.

At a later stage, the adjoining owners might decide that they also wish to extend their property upwards and use the wall that you have already built for their own purposes. Adjoining owners have a right to “enclose upon” the raised party walls. They are not allowed to use the wall for free however. Section 11(11) of the Act requires them to pay a due proportion of the construction costs – typically 50% of the cost of construction at the date when they decide to extend their property.

If you require advice on raising party walls or any other aspect of party wall procedures please contact us on 01903 892211 or by email for a free initial consultation.

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